Man is to man a god
or a tomb, in rolling earth—

and the way we moved. Some man
in habit found a book and the world

on its cusp, white sundial exhumed
from its black den. Some ghost let its tail

rasp over Man’s hand. Now he thinks
of Erasmus, and the night turns light

like we know. Dawn’s petal unfolds
like before. And a body, enclosed

in rationale. Behind the past,
an egg of pagan sun. Man copies lines

and burns what they had. Then,
there was only Athens, soft and naked

—in its birth.


Break only in case
             of emergency: a lobster
                         inside its glass case.

It’s not what we’d expect
             from the ocean, nor from the train
                         that swims through the night.

What flame could it quell
             but fire, what burning
                         could it choke, what pyre

could it save? Think of tracks
             in skin, its wheeling
                         red seams. Could it slow the bleed?

Anyone, this man, his slackened
             breaths, they could ebb
                         away like the night,

murky, the night: the skin
             of the earth turned
                         inside out. Life,

            life, give my flaring

Night: dark, a very
                         near dark.




Jessica Zhang is a high school senior from Boston. She reads for The Blueshift Journal and edits her school literary magazine. Her work appears in SOFTBLOW, The Tulane Review, Winter Tangerine Review Summer Anthology, and elsewhere.